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If your goal is to increase your bench press then don’t overlook the details specifically accessory lifts. In this video I’m going to show you the top three exercises for increasing your bench press without focusing solely on the actual bench press. Joining me in the gym for today’s video is accomplished powerlifter and overall strong dude KC “That 1 Legged Monster” Mitchell. KC shares some of his favorite accessory lifts that he’s been using to smash records and build a monster bench press.
We’ve covered the concept of true strength vs compensatory strength on this channel before. Many lifters, especially young lifters, are so focused on chasing numbers that they become less concerned about proper performance of the movement. This is a sure formula for not only developing compensations but further ingraining existing compensations that you already have as a result of your morphology, lifestyle or overall crappy posture. Some tell tale signs are the chronic aches and pains that pop up. Creaky elbows, stiff neck, and shoulders that have more snap crackle and pop than a box of breakfast cereal. All of these nagging pains are often the bodies way of telling us we’re doing something wrong.
My best recommendation for avoiding this cycle of pain is to be sure there are no weak links in the kinetic chain. By focusing on the three accessory lifts shown in this video you can be sure you’re getting stronger and more stable in all points required for getting the most out of this classic lift while staying healthy.
One of KC’s go to accessory lifts is the floor press. As with everything, it’s important to focus on preventing momentum from creeping in. This isn’t about bouncing weight up and down in order to see how many plates you can put on the bar but rather perfecting your execution and being explosive. The benefit of the floor press is that it allows you to press heavy weight without the additional stress on the shoulder normally experienced with rep after rep of traditional bench presses. Additionally, performing the lift from the floor takes leg drive out of the movement making it solely an upper body pressing movement.
Another of KC’s favorite accessory lifts is the seated overhead press. But once again, In order to minimize unnecessary stress on the shoulders KC uses an incline bench with a slight decline from the vertical position. This allows the front delts to get sufficient stimulus without making it into a strict overhead press. KC credits this move with his ability to explode from the bottom position of the bench.
KC’s final accessory lift is what he calls the lean back lat pull down. Think the bench press doesn’t require your lats? Well, that’s simply not true. As a true compound movement the bench press relies heavily on the lats for creating a solid, stable base to press from. I’ve said it too many times to count, “you cannot shoot a canon from a canoe”. That saying perfectly illustrates the importance of plugging up your energy leaks and the importance of creating a stable base to explode off of. Strong, powerful lats are going to help give you that foundation to build from when you’re looking to run up your bench numbers. Additionally strong lats are essential for good shoulder stability.
As you can see, there are some very important accessory lifts you need to do when you are trying to increase your bench. If you feel your bench has been stuck in a rut, give these three lifts a try. If you want a program that focuses on your whole body, then head over to and start training like an athlete. Details matter when you train like an athlete, and when you pay attention to the details, all of your lifts will increase.
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